RTTNews - India's Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, while presenting the first annual budget of the new UPA regime, projected the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 6.7% and forecast that the GDP would exceed 9% in FY14. He projected the fiscal deficit at 6.8% of GDP up from 2.7% last year while revenue deficit would be 4.8% of GDP. He also unveiled a considerably higher expenditure package to boost the economy. The total expenditure rose 35% with plan expenditure growing 34% to Rs.3,25,149 crore and non-plan expenditure up by 37%.

Mukherjee said that the target for agricultural credit flow was set at Rs.3.25-lakh crore. The allocation for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana grew 30%, whereas the allocation for irrigation benefit programme was proposed to be hiked by 75%. He said that Rs.120 crore was allotted for the Unique Identification Authority for the country's Unique Identification numbers which, is likely to come about between 12 and 18 months. He set apart additional 57% for the infrastructure sector compared to last year.

The Minister announced the introduction of a simplified version of the tax-filing form Saral, called Saral 2. The government would continue with structural changes in taxes. Income-tax exemption raised by Rs.10,000. The surcharge of 10% on the income-tax was proposed to be raided. Tax-payers are not satisfied with this rise in the slab with lifting the surcharge on tax.

Minimum Alternate tax was proposed to be raised to 15% from 10%. Mukherjee proposed a 100% tax deduction on political donations. He said that GST was to be implemented from April 1, 2010. The corporate tax rates were proposed to be retained unchanged while the Fringe Benefit tax and Commodity Transaction Tax were abolished.

India Incorporate has welcomed the budget proposals,giving importance to the revival of economic growth although it regretted rise in MAT and the continuation of Security Transaction Tax.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com